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Okeechobee Music Festival: Enter the Portal

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

Okeechobee Music Festival (OMF) exceeded so many expectations. From the music to the food to the people, it was by far one of the greatest experiences of my life. And to think it was only four days. It was the most perfect start to spring break, from March 3-6.

When they said #EnterthePortal they certainly meant it; the energy and mood of the entire festival was nothing shy of positive. Okeechobee was like being in a different world. Music is one of those things that has the ability to bring a variety of people together no matter their race, religion or sexual orientation—for one weekend we were all the same. 

Courtesy: Okeechobee Festival

One major fact to pay attention to is that this was OMF’s first year and it is already being compared to Coachella and Bonnaroo. OMF sold out, and the planning for 2017 has already begun! What made OMF a magical music show were the creators Paul Peck who helped get Bonnaroo started, and Steve Sybesma who runs an electronic music festival in China. It takes two minds like theirs to look at a piece of land and just know that magic can happen there. They created a whole new experience for people, fostered in the creation of memories. It is one thing to have a music festival such as Sunfest, Ultra and EDC, but to have a camping music festival changes the entire game because guests become immersed in the portal. There was no moment without music. Whether you’re an early riser or a night owl, you’d hear music from dusk to dawn. During the day Aquachobee, a man-made beach, was occupied by various DJs that played music until 9 p.m. Then Jungle 51 took over, which was located in the depths of trees and even displayed a crashed spaceship; here, music played until 9 a.m.

If you’re wondering when sleep took place—it didn’t. 

Courtesy: Okeechobee Festival

Now, we can’t forget the amazing lineup. There was something for everyone and the stages for each act were named Be, Here and Now, which within itself was a powerful message. Very rarely do you find a festival that is able to hit every genre but OMF did just that. If you were a lover of classics they had you covered, from Robert Plant and Daryl Hall & John Oates to Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Booker T. Jones. More of an EDM fan? You had Bassnectar, Skrillex, Kill the Noise, RL Grime, Hermitude and various others specializing in trap, bass and heavy beats. We can’t forget the hip-hop/rap devotees! For those, there was Mac Miller, Future, Joey Bada$$ and Kendrick Lamar. And of course OMF covered the indie-rock genre as well, from X Ambassadors, Youth Lagoon, Portugal the Man, ODESZA and Mumford and Sons. There was no genre left untouched; this was a festival for everyone. 

Courtesy: Okeechobee Festival 

It was more than the music though, it was the experience as a whole—the people, the camping, the art, the beach, the food, the energy, and the weather—that made this an unforgettable time. I personally left Okeechobee counting down the days until I could go back, and I’m sure you would feel the same too. It’s hard to explain, but the pure joy and positivity all weekend filled festival goers with love, encouraging them to spread that love everywhere. There was a moment during the festival where I screamed, “Where are my friends?” and this guy turns to me and says, “Your friends are all around you.” In that moment I never felt more alive or blissful. Okeechobee Music Festival was life-changing.

Can’t wait for next year Okee! Thank you for teaching us to be here now. 

I am currently a junior at Florida State University, studying Editing, Writing and Media. I have a passion for fashion and I love all things pop culture. After graduating I hope to pursue a career in journalism as for now I am simply trying to balance: school, work, having a social life and when I can sleep! I'm taking each day as it comes, and enjoying this journey that is life.
Her Campus at Florida State University.